The world was stunned when news broke that Chadwick Boseman had died on Aug. 28, 2020 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. Unlike his roles as Black Panther and Jackie Robinson, this was a fight the South Carolina native took on in private. Boseman was a true superhero, both onscreen and off, helping others to reach for their dreams and highlight the best of humanity as he did in his own life. We're taking a look back at some of his biggest moments and most stunning photos over his impressive career that was cut far too short.
'All My Children' (2003)
Boseman's first professional acting role was as vReggie Montgomery on the soap opera All My Children. His Black Panther co-star, Michael B. Jordan, would actually take over the role after Boseman was fired for speaking up about his concerns about the stereotypical parts of the character. “It’s one of those things where you get a role, and you don’t really know,” Boseman once told The Wrap of his time on AMC. “When I got it, I was like, ‘This is not part of my manifesto. This is not part of what I want to do. How can I make it work?’ Because with a soap opera, you don’t know the full scope of what’s gonna happen — you don’t know where they’re gonna take the character, because they don’t always know where the character is going. And because of that, there’s possibly room for me to adjust this and change it and make it so it’s stereotypical on the page but not on the screen.”
'The Express' (2008)
Notable in looking back on the roles Boseman would become known for, The Express casts him in a supporting role in a biopic about Ernie Davis (played by Rob Brown), the first Black football player to win the Heisman Trophy. Boseman plays Floyd Little, one of the future Hall of Famers that Davis would inspire.
'Persons Unknown' (2010)
One of Boseman's first starring television roles came in the short-lived NBC drama Persons Unknown, in which he played Sergeant Graham McNair. He also had a recurring role on ABC Family's Lincoln Heights from 2008-2009.
2012 Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Boseman posed for a stunning photo on third day of the film festival in Santa Barbara, California, in January 2012. He was there promoting his film, The Kill Hole.
Colorado Rockies v. Los Angeles Dodgers
The talented actor rocked a Dodgers jersey as he threw out the celebratory first pitch before the Los Angeles Dodgers took on the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium in July 2013. Boseman, who portrayed former Dodgers pro Jackie Robinson in the biopic 42, must have been good luck that day, as the home team won 1-0.
'42' Premiere After-Party
Jackie Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson, embraced Boseman at the after-party for 42 in Los Angeles.
The South Carolina native's breakout came with 42, in which he portrayed Jackie Robinson as a young man making history by signing with the Dodgers in 1947, breaking down racial barriers and becoming the first Black athlete to play in the Major Leagues. "From playing legendary figures to becoming one, we'll never forget your iconic performance as Jackie Robinson and your many inspiring roles," the Dodgers said upon Boseman's death. "You will be missed, Chadwick Boseman."
'Get On Up' (2014)
Boseman brought to life another legend in this biopic about the musician's rise from an impoverished childhood to becoming the Godfather of Soul. Donning Brown's signature coif, Boseman captured his spirit both onstage in big performance numbers and in the quieter, more dramatic scenes opposite co-star Viola Davis.
2014 BET Awards
The Carolinan looked positively giddy as he spoke onstage during the 2014 ceremony at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
'Draft Day' (2014)
This Ivan Reitman film largely concerns the wheelings and dealings of Kevin Costner's Cleveland Browns general manager as he decides how to use the team's first pick in the draft. But in Boseman's Vontae Mack -- a linebacker who confidently and doggedly advocates for his own self-worth -- he finds an unexpected top prospect no one else seems to understand.
2016 NAACP Image Awards
The handsome actor looked quite sharp on the red carpet at the 47th NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, California.
Cementing his status as Hollywood's go-to star for biopics about the important Black men throughout history, the actor was cast as Thurgood Marshall in this film detailing his early days as a crusading civil rights lawyer in the '40s. The movie centers on a career-defining case of racial injustice, long before Marshall would become the first Black Supreme Court Justice.
'Black Panther' Global Junket Press Conference
Boseman and co-star Michael B. Jordan shared a laugh while discussing their superhero film onstage at a press event in Beverly Hills, California, in January 2018. Three days after Boseman died, Jordan wrote a heartfelt tribute to his late friend on Instagram, which began, "I’ve been trying to find the words, but nothing comes close to how I feel. I’ve been reflecting on every moment, every conversation, every laugh, every disagreement, every hug…everything. I wish we had more time."
World Premiere of 'Black Panther'
Boseman threw up the Wakanda Forever salute at the Los Angeles premiere of Black Panther in February 2018.
'Black Panther' (2018)
Few superheroes make as impactful a debut as Boseman's reluctant king T'Challa did in Captain America: Civil War, returning for a solo outing in Black Panther and key roles in both Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. As a royal, T'Challa was fair and kind. As a superhero, he was one of a kind. The character became one of the biggest cultural phenomena of the 21st century. The film won Boseman an NAACP Image Award and People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Movie Star, as well as the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. v"We knew that we had something special that we wanted to give the world," he said while accepting the latter. "That we could be full human beings in the roles that we were playing, that we could create a world that exemplified a world that we wanted to see. And to come to work every day and to solve problems with this group of people, this director, that is something that I wish all actors would get the opportunity to experience."
90th Annual Academy Awards
The affable actor flashed a big smile at the 2018 Oscars.
2018 'Vanity Fair' Oscar Party
Boseman looked truly dashing in this black-and-white photo taken from a unique angle of the red carpet at the annual, star-studded post-Academy Awards party.
2018 Met Gala
Boseman cut a fierce figure in an all-white Versace outfit that perfectly fit the annual gala's theme that year of "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination."
2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards
The actor proudly high-fived fans as he headed up to the stage to accept the Best Performance in a Movie Award for Black Panther.
St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital
Despite secretly going through his own battle with cancer, Boseman made time for young cancer patients and sick kids, visiting numerous hospitals over the years. One of his visits included a stop at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis in 2018, where he paused to do the Wakanda Forever salute with a patient named Santiago.
'GQ' Men of the Year Awards
The Black Panther star looked sharp at the 2018 awards show in London.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 10th Annual Governors Awards
The Avengers: Infinity War star showed off his fashion prowess in a red, snakeskin-print jacket at the 10th Annual Governors Awards in Los Angeles in November 2018.
25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
The actor tapped his fist to his chest as he held then-girlfriend Taylor Simone Ledward's hand on the red carpet at the 2019 awards show. The pair wed shortly before Boseman's death.
'21 Bridges' (2019)
Seeing double! The former Lincoln Heights star posed in front of a giant 21 Bridges poster at a New York City screening of his film.
"It’s a time for giving thanks, so I wanted to express how grateful I am for family, friends, and safe travels on tour," Boseman captioned this November 2019 photo. "Also grateful for your support of #21Bridges. And for your many kind birthday wishes today. 🙏🏾."
2019 NAACP Image Awards
The Howard University grad proudly held up his award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture at the 50th NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles.
47th AFI Life Achievement Award
Boseman praised his mentor, Denzel Washington, as the acting icon was honored with the AFI Life Achievement Award in June 2019. Following news of Boseman's death, Washington honored the late actor, whom he helped pay for his acting program years before Boseman made a name for himself in Hollywood. "He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career. God bless Chadwick Boseman," the Oscar winner expressed in a statement given to ET.
Chadwick and Kobe
Following Kobe Bryant's untimely death in January 2020, Boseman shared a photo of himself and the late basketball legend. "I’m heartbroken. Shocked," the actor wrote on Instagram. "Husband, Father, Strategist, Philosopher-Poet, Warrior-Athlete, Filmmaker...your focus is magnetic, Kobe. My love goes out to you and your family."
2020 State Farm All-Star Saturday Night
Boseman met retired NBA pro Dwyane Wade over the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago.
'Da 5 Bloods' (2020)
In what would be one of his final films, Boseman plays "Stormin'" Norman Earl Holloway, the leader of the titular squad of Black 1st Infantry Division soldiers during the Vietnam War. It's a minor role as far as screen time goes, but Boseman's appearance serves as the linchpin for Spike Lee's epic, which follows Norman's fellow Bloods years later as they return to Vietnam to honor their fallen leader and recover a buried treasure they planned to use to help fund Black Liberation.